The restoration of Kaikoura Harbor after last year’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake is expected to be completed by the middle of the year, according to the New Zealand Government’s latest release.
Civil Defense Minister, Gerry Brownlee, has announced progress on the slipway, ramp and channel deepening as a result of the November 14 earthquake lifting the seabed between one and two meters in some areas.
“At the moment access is severely restricted and the harbor channel is so shallow, it can only be used four hours a day – two hours either side of the tide,” Mr Brownlee said.
“Commercial operators can only schedule between 20 per cent and 40 per cent of their previously planned tours and the district’s commercial fishing industry has also been adversely affected.
“The importance of tourism and fishing cannot be underestimated – the annual tourism spend in Kaikoura is $120 million (domestic and international) and the value of the annual fishing catch is approximately $25-30 million. The $5 million government grant meant work could start straight away on repairing and upgrading this essential piece of infrastructure.
“Crews have already started to repair the marina and have been clearing and leveling the main commercial slipway. Work has also progressed at the recreational wharf and the Coastguard Kaikoura slipway.
“At the same time the channel into the main harbor is being deepened by dredging out the new sea floor. So far, about 5000 cubic meters of material has been excavated. It’s a big job that will result in the channel being two meters deep at low tide and able to be used all day. Work is expected to be complete by mid-year.
“The restoration has safeguards to avoid, remedy or mitigate any impact on the marine environment,” Mr Brownlee said.
The harbor restoration is being funded by a grant of up to $5 million announced in December. Three excavators are at work, scooping up the limestone from the seabed to deepen the channel.